Our Lady's Mirror

Summer 1953

Inside of St Augustine’s Gate
The Guardians have recently had one of the most anxious tasks accorded to any individual or corporate body, for as patrons of benefices it is their responsibility to present to the Bishop of the diocese in which the livings are situated, the priests they deem most suitable for the cure of souls for these special places. A patron has to consider the priest himself, if he is the type of man to teach without compromise the whole faith, and to set forward the practice of the Church and, at the same time, if he is patient and sympathetic with all sorts of people; while in England he has to be a missioner, for our land needs reconverting to Christianity; which of course means Catholicism. Then the conditions of the parishes have to be considered – the type of people, if responsive or difficult – the type of priest necessary for them in order that they may accept the faith and respond to instruction in the spiritual life. First the Administrator, together with Fr. Fynes-Clinton and Sir William Milner, who hold the benefice of Kedington in trust for the Guardians, to whom it is being conveyed, have had to present a priest for that country benefice – a parish between Bury St. Edmund’s and Newmarket. The church at Kedington is almost an ecclesiastical museum, full of examples of wood and stone work representing the 14th to 18th centuries, including some very fine monuments, to say nothing of box pews and a three-decker. The parish priest has to live in a lovely Queen Anne vicarage, with a kitchen and hall of the time of Henry VIII standing in spacious and wooded grounds. Both church and vicarage represent many problems in themselves. Circumstances helped the patrons in this case in their choice of a priest, who is an old friend of the late incumbent and former patron. He was known and desired by the people of the parish, and so Fr. Clifford Rider, who for some time has been Chaplain to the All Saints’ Hospital at Eastbourne, and Priest Associate of Walsingham, has been instituted. Friends of Walsingham must support this parish and its priest in his most difficult task by their prayers, and if near should not fail to visit this interesting church. Then the Guardians who are patrons of Whitstone in Devon, near Bude, have had the responsibility of appointing to this vacant benefice, left to the Shrine some years ago by the will of Father Kingdon. This is a very small and scattered parish with a fine old church beautifully fitted, and a chapel in the vicarage grounds which was furnished by the late incumbent. This parish has been accustomed to the full faith for many years, but it is one that requires a lot of work to make up for various difficulties and a long interregnum. To Whitstone the patrons have presented Fr. Ralph Underwood, who has worked at S. Margaret’s, Princes Road, Liverpool, and elsewhere, while more recently he has been helping at S. Paul’s, Chiswick. Here, again, friends of Walsingham are asked to direct their intention in prayers and when in that part of the world to visit the church with its ancient holy well of S. Anne, a mediæval place of pilgrimage with a long-standing report of many miracles. The window, made by Sir Ninian Comper, in memory of Major Bowker, has at last arrived and is now in place. This last addition finishes the work provided for by the Major, who has thus given all the furniture and fittings for this chapel of SS. Thomas and Philip Neri. The third set of stalls has been set up and really makes the south side of the choir quite handsome. They are of fine design based upon those in the church of S. Giovanni é Paolo in Venice. Enid Chadwick has been busy emblazoning the arms of the Guardians, both past and present, to whom the stalls are assigned. At last the lower part of the proposed gate-house leading into the College has been built, and it makes all the difference to our enclosure. The estimates for this work proved far beyond our resources, and so we used direct labour and adapted our plans as the work proceeded. As usual the parochial Corpus Christi procession was held after the parish Mass on the Sunday within the Octave, when the weather was kind and we were able to have our outside altar in the new ground recently enclosed for the extension of the churchyard. Unfortunately the annual C.B.S. procession of the Blessed Sacrament, which we held in the evening of the octave day, had to be confined to the inside of the Pilgrimage Church owing to the torrents of rain which fell all day long. The Bishop of Basutoland carried the monstrance and gave Benediction. The Coronation of Her Majesty the Queen is a long way behind, but what a day it was in Walsingham, as elsewhere! The rain simply pelted down most of the time. At S. Mary’s we kept an all-night vigil before the Blessed Sacrament, beginning at 9 p.m. on Monday evening, which was very well attended and marked by families coming – fathers, mothers, sons and daughters all together to keep the watch. At the end of Exposition there was a sung Mass and Holy Communion at 7 o’clock. The Bursar has departed and returned after a long-needed rest. The strain of the office and other work connected with the Shrine and parishes was really getting him down, but we trust the change will have set him up for the coming winter months. Some members of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham often complain that they never get copies of the Mirror. The answer, in many cases, is that although no charge is made for this paper – and there is no subscription – it has often been pointed out and we wish to repeat it: the Shrine cannot now afford to distribute the Mirror gratis, and so we have been forced to cut off from our mailing list all those (except Religious and similar bodies) who do not send a donation towards the expenses of production and postage. We feel sure, despite what we have said to the contrary in the past, that those who are sufficiently interested in Walsingham and its works to want to get this news sheet, as it was first called nearly three decades ago, ought to be willing at least to pay the cost of postage and a mite more, especially when they are told that every year we are down over £60 because of the lack of sufficient contributions. WILLIAM It is with very great grief we have to tell our readers of the death of Mr William Frary; known to so many pilgrims and visitors to the Shrine just by his Christian name, for he was everyone’s friend, and all lovers of Walsingham were his friends. For over thirty years he had been a regular server and M.C. at the Parish Church of S. Mary; one of the first members of the S.O.L.W., and from the time of the rebuilding of the Holy House he had been Beadle, Gardener and Carillonneur. William was always at hand and ready for any call at any time, for time did not matter to him so long as he was doing “a job” for the Shrine or anything or anyone connected with it. Our loss is irreparable, not only because he was a devoted and loyal worker, but also a personal and valued friend to so many. Since he was a young man of seventeen he had been most regular in his personal religion, and a real defender of the Faith in our village. Many souls have been helped over difficult stiles by him, and he will be long remembered and loved. He leaves his wife and two daughters, to whom our deepest sympathy is extended in their great bereavement. William died, as he wished, on Our Lady’s Assumption. His body was brought into the Pilgrimage Church on the morning of Tuesday, August 18th, and rested in front of the High Altar until after Vespers, which were said at 6.30 when the coffin was removed to the chapel of S. Anne (that of the S.O.L.W.) where it remained until the next morning. The cortège left the Pilgrimage Church, which William loved so much, at 9.15 and proceeded down the High Street to S. Mary’s Church. Four of the Guardians walked beside the coffin, Father Patten and two cantors walking in front and leading the psalms; the Beadle’s mace draped in black was carried immediately behind the coffin. At the church the office was said and a Requiem Mass sung by the Parish Priest. After the absolutions the burial followed immediately. We have full confidence that Our Lady will aid him by her prayers and we ask all our readers to add their intercessions and good works so that he may soon pass into the joys of the beatific vision. Jesu mercy. Mary help. articles: S S, 'A notable London church'; I H B, 'Our Lady of Pen-Rhys'; 'Mary and prayer for unity'; 'Two shrines of Luxembourg'; Peter Fitzjohn, 'Echternach' photographs: inside S Augustine's Gate [above] and outside it; two photographs of Holy Redeemer, Clerkenwell; Shrine of OLW, S Andrew's, Carshalton; three photographs of William Frary's funeral; two photographs of Grace Church, Sheboygan, USA; three photographs of Echternach